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Several island teachers joined the national strike action headed by the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) against the Government of Belize (GOB) on Monday, April 26th. BNTU members are disputing the GOB’s proposed 10% salary pay cut and an increment freeze for three years. They also demand good governance, the end of corruption, and the government to collect unpaid taxes from large companies. In San Pedro Town, BNTU members walked out of classes around 11AM, and all virtual teaching stopped. At around 1PM, they gathered at Central Park, where they held a peaceful protest. They also marched through the streets of downtown San Pedro signaling their disapproval of GOB’s stance on the proposed salary cut. The government says the salary cut is needed to balance the 2021-2022 national budget.

San Pedro’s BNTU member Helen Melendez said that they do not know when they will resume classes. Under the strike, they will not communicate with students or provide in-person classes for those at recently re-opened schools. According to Melendez, they will wait on instructions from BNTU on what is the next step. In the meantime, they will be on a go-slow pace with zero interactions with school duties.

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B.N.T.U. San Pedro Strikes

Teachers were also actively striking in San Pedro on Monday. Today, those teachers engaged in an educational campaign to bring awareness among the general public of their purpose for strike action. One union member confirmed with News five that the union will follow through with its strike for the remainder of the week.

Helen Melendez, B.N.T.U. San Pedro

“Due to the pandemic we were not reporting daily. Some schools were reporting once a week, some schools were reporting twice a week. I can speak for Holy Cross Anglican School R.C, we were only reporting once a week. However, virtual learning, we were doing that three times in the week. So that was supposed to get done this week. However, as I mentioned, we are not going to get that done this week. I cannot say what will happen next week. We are waiting on the Union to tell us what will happen or what we will do next.”